Malta Football Association
Mangia backs Malta to face Croatia test with right attitude
Mar 29, 2021
Posted in:
National Team
Malta coach Devis Mangia. PHOTOS: Mark Zammit Cordina/MFA
Malta coach Devis Mangia. PHOTOS: Mark Zammit Cordina/MFA

  • Malta coach Devis Mangia. PHOTOS: Mark Zammit Cordina/MFA
  • Malta midfielder Matthew Guillaumier. PHOTOS: Mark Zammit Cordina/MFA
  • Malta train at the HNK Rijeka Stadium. PHOTOS: Mark Zammit Cordina/MFA

Malta coach Devis Mangia is bracing himself for an arduous test against 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia tomorrow (Tuesday) but he has no doubt that his players will approach this commitment with the right attitude.

Three days after their admirable performance in a 2-2 draw away to Slovakia on Saturday, Malta head into their encounter with Group H favourites Croatia at the HNK Rijeka Stadium (kick-off 20.45hrs) in high spirits.


Mangia considers the match away to Croatia as the most difficult of Malta’s opening three qualifiers, played during a six-day period. “Although Croatia are going through a transition, they are still a very strong team,” the Malta coach said during the pre-match press conference this evening. "All the teams in Group H are strong, especially from a physical point-of-view, but it's clear that Croatia are a more technical team compared to the other sides."


According to Mangia, Croatia’s football style differs slightly from Slovakia’s as, while the latter like to keep possession, Croatia are not only good at keeping the ball but are very fast, relying on players who are strong both physically and technically.


“The attitude of our players will be very important but I have no doubt about that,” Mangia said.


After a very encouraging UEFA Nations League group campaign, Malta kicked off their World Cup qualifying commitments with an undeserved 3-1 defeat to Russia at the National Stadium last Wednesday with Joseph Mbong on target in that opening qualifier. On Saturday, Malta maintained the upward trend, stunning Slovakia with superb first-half goals from Luke Gambin and Alexander Satariano but were pegged back by the hosts’ strong reaction in the second half.


Mangia, who has taken 26 players for the away double-header against Slovakia and Croatia, confirmed that he has no injury problems for tomorrow’s qualifier.




Malta player Matthew Guillaumier spoke about the positive mentality instilled by Devis Mangia since his appointment as national coach.


"The mentality is very positive, we try to play at a par with all the teams and we hold no fear," Guillaumier said.


The ─Žamrun Spartans midfielder said three competitive games in the space of six days are very challenging for the players, both physically and mentally, adding that the team must remain strong pyschologically for the qualifier against Croatia.

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